An astronomers’ foreign team has managed to “photograph” a bizarre world: a gaseous supergiant four times more massive than Jupiter planet and orbiting the most luminous star in a triple star system.
In all probability, the hypothetical – and, in all likelihood, nonexistent – inhabitants of that planet would, therefore, see three suns that would rise and set as many times a day in certain seasons of the year.
At other times, however, there would always be some sun shining in the sky so that the planet would experience a constant day situation. The results published Friday in the online edition of the journal Science.
The new world, located 320 light-years away and named HD 131399Ab, is not the first planet discovered in a triple star system. However, it does present several characteristics that make it an exceptional case compared to previously known facts. But first, its orbit is extraordinarily full: HD 131399Ab is more than 80 astronomical units (AU) from the triple system; that is, twice as far from its mother star as Pluto from the Sun (1 AU equals the Earth-Sun distance).
However, despite this vast separation, it is by no means an icy world. Its host star is much more massive than the Sun. So temperatures of almost 600 degrees Celsius are reached on the planet’s surface, higher than those experienced by Venus or Mercury.
It was precisely this characteristic that has made it possible to detect the planet using a relatively unusual technique: taking direct images. So this method based on capturing the earth’s thermal emission, which is equivalent to “seeing” it in the infrared.
Vast majority exoplanets discovered so far have not located in this way. But rather effects they cause on the star around which they orbit (either because when passing in front of it they slightly dim their light, or by the small oscillations that the gravitational pull of the planet causes in the host star).
In particular, the coldest planet – despite almost 600 degrees – found so far by the direct imaging method. The discovery was possible by the SPHERE spectrograph.
The finding is also famous for another reason. Additionally in principle, a planet located in a multiple star system expected to have an unstable orbit. Since the gravitational influence of several nearby stars generally results in chaotic dynamics. And most likely, anybody ends up being an ejected system very soon. So these kinds of findings considered highly unlikely.
The new world one of the youngest exoplanets known to date. And it has an estimated 16 million years, a gasp in astronomical terms.
In the article, the authors venture three possible formation scenarios. So that the planet originated near the main star of the triple system. And that it ejected to its current, full orbit. So that to say born circumbinary planet around the other two stars of the order (very close to each other). And that later displaced towards the central Sun, or that gestated near the main star or the minor pair. But before the three stars joined each other to give rise to the triple system. Be that as it may, a curious world to add to the increasingly extensive list of known exoplanets.
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